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The truth is that Integrity founder Harlan Geiser first read the book, “The Great Game of Business” back in 1999, after which he picked a few concepts to implement like sharing revenues and handing out year-end bonuses. But after few successful years, those practices fell by the wayside. When the recession hit and the company lost money for the first time in its history during the first quarter of 2009, Geiser was ready for a change. After meeting with GGOB practitioner Jack O’Riley, Geiser decided it was time to revisit GGOB once again.
The truth is that Integrity founder Harlan Geiser had first come across the GGOB back in 1999, from which he cherry-picked a few concepts like sharing revenues and handing out year-end bonuses. But after a few years, as the company continued to blossom, even those practices fell by the wayside. Then the recession hit and the company lost money for the first time in its history in the first quarter of 2009. That‟s when, thanks to a chance meeting GGOB practitioner named Jack O‟Riley, Geiser decided to revisit the GGOB once again.
After making the decision to open their books and begin playing the GGOB in earnest, Geiser and his team identified, tracked and forecasted the key financial and operational numbers that determine their company’s success. “The goal was to get each of our associates to think and act like an owner of our business and to thing about the financial impact of the decisions they make every day,” says Orzel. “We taught them how their decisions and the work that they do every day impacts the numbers.”
Since embracing the GGOB, Orzel says the team at Integrity has become skilled both at forecasting and in putting those projections to good use. “It‟s not just the action of recording the forecasts that moves our business forward, it‟s the discussions we have in our Huddles about the numbers,” she says. “We now look at our numbers three months in advance. We get to look into the crystal ball weekly and see how our numbers are adding up. If needed, we can say, I don't think so‟ and shake it up so that we like what we see. Now, we don‟t end the months saying 'We should have,' 'What if we had,' or even, Why didn't we?'”
One of the changes made on the fly was to reduce the firm‟s marketing expense by empowering each and every associate at Integrity to become a source for new leads and referrals. “Each of our employees has a playbook where he or she keeps track of the actions they do each day to contribute to the sales engine,” she says. “These playbooks are shared with all employees to provide information and accountability.”
Integrity has also implemented a series of Mini-Games™™ based around themes such as reducing the mileage expense its associates charge back to the company when visiting clients or, by playing a bowling-themed game called “Striking Out Errors,” which encouraged associates to improve their accuracy and timeliness when they recorded their time, which helps ensure clients get properly billed.
“The GGOB has helped us evolve from being technical consultants to becoming business consultants because everyone now understands the financial impact of the decisions they make, says Orzel.
- Cost-cutting: By getting associates involved in making decisions, Integrity cut $11,000 in expenses per month after implementing the GGOB.
- Employee Benefit: In 2011 its staff of 30 received an added element to their benefit package that they’d been requesting for years: a 401k match. This was made possible by the sound business and financial decisions that employees made to grow their business and move numbers in the right direction.
- Realignment: Once its staff of 27 associates were trained in how to read the company‟s financials, the company trimmed its accounting department down to a single associate.
- Bonus: In response to the recession, employees took a 10% pay cut (Geiser cut his pay in half), but eventually made it up and more through their end-of-year bonus. The company has since paid out its Stake in the Outcome bonus every quarter it has been playing the GGOB.
- Reversing a trend: After suffering through six consecutive underperforming quarters, profits are back on track, up some 114% in 2010.
- Great returns: Thanks to active decision making among associates, Integrity posed a 7.6% return on sales rate – a five-year high.
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